This local artist sculpts flowers out of his dead skin

This local artist sculpts flowers out of his dead skin

Skin, inc

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Singapore Art Museum

Ezzam Rahman creates intricate flowers from a collection of his own dead skin for the President's Young Talents 2015 exhibition

A new exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum takes nail clipping to a whole other level.

After a year of collecting his own skin and nails, multi-disciplinary artist Ezzam Rahman has placed them in 34 bell jars. Instead of leaving them as they are, he's painstakingly sculpted them into the most barren of flowers — with scraggy petals showing off intricate veins. You wouldn't have been able to tell that they were made of dead skin from the soles of Ezzam's feet.

Ezzam Rahman

It's a piece of art that directly presents a part of Ezzam, quite literally. Pursuing the idea of leaving behind a trace of a person, he started playing with his own skin after a session of nail clipping and ended up sculpting something — thus beginning a journey of piecing together skin and nails to create flowers.


It isn't the first time he's using his own body to make a statement. Ezzam has spent six years working with skin, including a recent skin sculpture commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum in 'Unearthed' last year. This time, as one of the President's Young Talents 2015 (PYT), 'Here's who I am, I am what you see' is an ephemeral work weaving the ideas of absence and presence.

Ezzam Rahman skin

Staged in a dark room lighted only by the glow of bell jars, it's superficially a stark contrast to his other work for PYT, 'Allow me to introduce myself' — yet it retains the root of ephemeralism.

Ezzam Rahman, President's Young Talent

Set in a brightly-lit, glass facade room and decked with used furniture, bell jars, and copious amounts of talcum powder, this performance installation sees him scooping a handful of powder and blowing it out — spewing saliva, phlegm, and other bodily fluids from his mouth to the room. It's a great way to multi-task, if you will — the artwork is ever-growing with the addition of fluids left behind (as well as their reaction to powder) marking the artist's presence — though he doesn't have to be there to make a statement.

Ezzam Rahman powder

The President's Young Talents exhibition will run from now till 27 March 2016 at the Singapore Art Museum. Ezzam Rahman will perform 'Allow me to introduce myself' on 11 September, 9 October, 13 November and 11 December from 6.30-8.30pm.